Heart Aerospace, which previously planned to have hundreds of 19-seat all-electric planes in the air by 2026, has ditched its previous design in favor of a 30-seat hybrid model with similar capabilities.
The ES-30 will fully replace the ES-19, of which 200 were ordered by United Airlines and regional US airline Mesa Air Group. It is our understanding that these orders were not meaningfully fulfilled, if at all.
Heart said the two airlines, and several others who signed letters of intent to buy ES-19s, have reconfirmed their orders, this time for the 30-seat hybrid electric craft. The biz also said it also secured two new financial backers – Swedish aerospace company Saab and Air Canada – the latter of which placed an order for 30 of the new airframes.
Michael Rousseau, CEO at Air Canada, said while his airline had been working successfully toward reducing its carbon footprint, “we know that meeting our net-zero emissions goals will require new technology such as the ES-30.”
While adding 11 passengers, the ES-30 doesn’t extend the older model’s range of only 200 km (124 miles) under fully-electric operation. Unlike the ES-19, however, the ES-30 is equipped with a reserve-hybrid mode that uses two turbo generators powered by aviation fuel, extending the range to 400 km, or just under 250 miles if needed.
By dropping five passengers, Heart said, the ES-30’s range doubles to 800 km, more than the distance between London and Aberdeen, or Washington DC to Boston. Because of its increased range, Heart Aerospace CEO Anders Forslund describes the ES-30 as “an electric airplane that the industry can actually use,” which isn’t a great epitaph for the ES-19.
According to Heart, the hybrid system in the ES-30 provides reserve power “without cannibalizing battery range, and it can also be used during cruise on longer flights to complement the electrical power provided by the batteries.”
Heart said that the ES-30 has also been designed to accommodate evolution in battery technology that it said will increase the plane’s range over time.
By the mid 2030s the aircraft biz believes the ES-30 will add 100 km to its electric and hybrid ranges, and by the late 2030s said it could be able to fly 400 km on battery power and 600 km in hybrid mode, assuming a full passenger complement of 30 people. As those figures don’t come along with any data or support, it’s best to take them with a grain of salt.
Heart said it expects to get the ES-30 in the air, in commercial service, by 2028, just two years after it planned to begin flying ES-19 aircraft. With a deadline that tight we reached out to the company to learn more about its plans, and haven’t heard back. ®